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  1. #1
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Default Present Perfect tenses

    Hello,

    I entered "Present Perfect Continuous" in to the search engine and read all of the 266 entries carefully. Yet, I still have some doubt making me post this thread.

    What I know and can possibly use safely is:

    # 1 We prefer to use the Present Perfect Simple for complete past activities to stress their present result, either physical: "I have broken your glasses." or mental in the form of experience: "I have never worn glasses."

    # 2 We prefer to use the Present Perfect SImple for saying how long a state has lasted: "I have never understood using the Present Perfect tenses."

    In comparison, we prefer to use the Present Perfect Continous for describing

    #1 how long actions have which started in the past and have continued until now been going on, which, maybe, will be in progress in the future: "I have been writing the letter for 2 hours."

    #2 present results of actions which started in the past and have continued up to a recent moment: "Look! Its been snowing."

    Now, what Im not sure of:

    A/ I have undersood we may also use the Present Perfect Simple to say how long an action been going on to stress the whole of the period.

    Can we thus say:

    "I have written the letter for 2 hours." emphasising the time period?

    Or "How long have you waited?" - "I have only waited for 30 minutes."

    Personally, I would always use the Continuous, but is it OK to use the above as well?


    B/ And another one:

    As the rules say "we use the Present Perfect Continuous to describe present results of actions which started in the past and have continued up to a recent moment: "Look! Its been snowing."

    Can we use in these contexts the Simple Perfect as well? Eg: "The streets are wet. It has rained." or "Look! It has snowed. The garden is covered in snow."

    Personally, I would always use the Continuous again, but is it OK to use the above as well?

    C/ ANd the last one. What are the options it the below context:

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I have been repairing the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I am repairing the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I have repaired the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I was repairing the car."


    Thank you for your patience and reading down to here, and for your possible advice.

    As this issue seems to be so complex, I would prefer native speakers to answer.

    Good day to you.

    Waawe

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Waawe View Post
    Hello,



    Now, what Im not sure of:

    A/ I have undersood we may also use the Present Perfect Simple to say how long an action been going on to stress the whole of the period.

    Can we thus say:

    "I have written the letter for 2 hours." emphasising the time period? .
    Or "How long have you waited?" - "I have only waited for 30 minutes."

    Personally, I would always use the Continuous, but is it OK to use the above as well?
    No. Use present perfect continuous.

    B/ And another one:

    As the rules say "we use the Present Perfect Continuous to describe present results of actions which started in the past and have continued up to a recent moment: "Look! Its been snowing."

    Can we use in these contexts the Simple Perfect as well? Eg: "The streets are wet. It has rained." or "Look! It has snowed. The garden is covered in snow."

    Personally, I would always use the Continuous again, but is it OK to use the above as well? Yes.

    C/ ANd the last one. What are the options it the below context:

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I have been repairing the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I am repairing the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I have repaired the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I was repairing the car."


    Thank you for your patience and reading down to here, and for your possible advice.

    As this issue seems to be so complex, I would prefer native speakers to answer.

    Good day to you.

    Waawe
    Bhai.

  3. #3
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    Thank you for a prompt answer.

    Do I get it right there is no traceable difference between:

    "Look, it has snowed!" and "Look, it has been snowing."?

    If I think of a similar context, such as: "Why are your hands dirty?", I would always use the present perfect progressive like "I have been repairing my bike." The simple perfect just doesnt seem fine there. Am I wrong? If not, how do the two examples differ from each other?

    Let me ask additional question:

    Is the sentence OK? - "The Senators have been playing badly this season." Or do I have to use there, for example, so far/until now to make the sentence correct?

    Thank you for assistance.

    Good day to you.

    Waawe

    PS: Present Perfect tenses would probably be voted the toughest grammar amongst non-natives. At least, I would.

  4. #4
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Waawe View Post


    Do I get it right there is no traceable difference between:

    "Look, it has snowed!" and "Look, it has been snowing."?
    "Look! It has been snowing" is more likely, but either is OK.


    Quote Originally Posted by Waawe View Post
    If I think of a similar context, such as: "Why are your hands dirty?", I would always use the present perfect progressive like "I have been repairing my bike." The simple perfect just doesnt seem fine there. Am I wrong? If not, how do the two examples differ from each other?
    You are not wrong.



    Quote Originally Posted by Waawe View Post
    Let me ask an additional question:

    Is the sentence OK? - "The Senators have been playing badly this season." Or do I have to use there, for example, so far/until now to make the sentence correct?
    The sentence is fine as is.



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I have/I've been repairing the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I am repairing the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I have repaired the car."

    "Your hands are dirty." - "Yeah, I was repairing the car." (The cleaning of the car is over, a past event ...but there is still oil and grease on his hands.)

  6. #6
    Waawe is offline Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    Thank you all,

    Im afraid I cant see the reason/difference why I can say:

    "Look at the street - it has snowed."

    but cant say

    "My hands are dirty - I have repaired the bike."


    How so, we can use the simple form in the first example but not in the latter one? In both the sentences there is a past event with a present result (either snow on the street or oil on the hands).

    What am I missing here?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    Im afraid I cant see the reason/difference why I can say:

    "Look at the street - it has snowed."

    but cant say

    "My hands are dirty - I have repaired the bike."


    I WOULDN'T write, "Look at the street - it has snowed."
    Both sentences are drawing attention to the ongoing effects/results which continue after the action is complete. So -

    "Look at the street - it has been/it's been snowing."
    "My hands are dirty - I have been/I've been repairing the bike."

    and
    My hands are dirty because I am/I'm repairing my bike

  8. #8
    Luizao is offline Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    It is a tough tense to get to grips with and even more so to teach at times as there are many facets and uses of it.

    One way I think about it when I compare Present Perfect Simple and the Continuous form is the following.

    1) We can use the PPS to talk about actions that have been completed in the past. The action is quite clearly completed.

    *We tend to use PPS if you we want to place emphasis on the completion of the action.

    "I have repaired the car."
    It's completed
    It doesn't need to be done again.

    On the other hand, "Ive been repairing the car" ---- suggests that I havent finished. But its not 100% sure either

    2) We can use the PPC

    A] To talk about actions that are most probably unfinished/ongoing.

    "I've been waiting for ages" (Im still waiting)
    "Ive been repairing the car" (and will finish later)

    B] To talk about invidual actions that are repeated.

    "Emma has been calling you all day" (10/11 etc seperate times)


    *We tend to use PPC to suggest that the action is ongoing/unfinished OR repeated.
    We place the emphasis on the action/activity itself, regardless of whether its completed or not. Thats just not the important thing.

    Thus....

    "Why are your hands dirty?"
    > "Because I've been fixing the car"

    The important thing in this sentence is that it doesnt matter whether the car is repaired or not. Maybe it is maybe it sint. The PPC suggests that it probably isnt.
    The important thing is that the activity/action of repairing the car made my hands dirty.

    On the other hand, although the latter example would be the most natural....
    If the second speaker also wanted to say why his hands were dirty AND at the same time make it clear that he had also fixed the car (completed the action)
    the conversation could go like this;

    "Why are your hands dirty?"
    >"Because Ive repaired the car!"

    The focus here would again be on the completed action rather than the activity itself.


    NOTE

    When we speak about how long we've been doing something we tend to/prefer to use PPC;
    (note you could still PPS, its just not natural unless theres a context for it)

    I've been waiting for 30 mins
    I've been working here for 2 months.

    (but with a context)

    "Jack Ive waited for 30 mins, you're not here so Im going home" ok 2
    "Ive worked here for 2 months and I love it. I never want to leave"ok2


    As a piece of advice we prefer to use PPC when saying how long HOWEVER we use PPS if the period of time is a long one (years maybe).

    "Ive lived in London all my life" long period

    Its also ok to say;

    "I've been living in London all my life"

    particularly if I wanted to suggest that I fancy a change or am thinking about moving. (see below)

    ALTERNATIVELY
    You can also use each tense to different effect;
    One implies that you expect someting to continue, that youre ok/happy with it, it's permanent in your view

    The other implies that you plan to/think about changing it/you're not ok/happy with it/it's only temporary

    ie; "I've been smoking for 10 years"
    (perhaps I want to give up/temporary)

    "I've smoked for 10 years"
    (sounds like I have no plans to stop/permanent

    The way I see it, its generally (but not always) ok to use either tense its just at times one is prefered to the other.

    You may need to provide a context for it to be legitimate and aware that it can alter the meaning / effect on the listener.

    It is most definitely a can of worms...
    Last edited by Luizao; 23-Feb-2009 at 00:57.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    Careful.
    Present Perfect Simple
    A 'perfect' tense can't be 'simple' - they're mutually exclusive.

    *We tend to use PPS if you we want to place emphasis on the completion of the action.

    No. Past Simple would 'emphasize' the completion of an action, that is was over/finished/complete. Present Perfect expresses the viewpoint that I see the action as extending back from NOW, over a period of time. It is a retrospective point of view.

    2) We can use the PPC

    A] To talk about actions that are most probably unfinished/ongoing.

    "I've been waiting for ages" (Im still waiting)
    "Ive been repairing the car" (and will finish later)

    B] To talk about invidual actions that are repeated.

    "Emma has been calling you all day" (10/11 etc seperate times)

    *We tend to use PPC to suggest that the action is ongoing/unfinished OR repeated.
    We place the emphasis on the action/activity itself, regardless of whether its completed or not.


    Let's draw out the essence of this.

    Present Perfect, as in, "I have repaired the car" can be visually depicted in time as:
    <started........fixing...............>|NOW The action extended over time, up to NOW.
    The Continuous form, " I have been repairing the car." can be visually depicted in time as:
    <started........fixing...............NOW.......>
    The speaker would use the Continuous form if he regards the action as not complete, but will extend beyond the moment when he speaks, the NOW.

    I've been waiting for 30 mins
    I've been working here for 2 months.

    (but with a context)

    "Jack Ive waited for 30 mins, you're not here so Im going home" ok 2
    "Ive worked here for 2 months and I love it. I never want to leave"ok2

    Note that in the Present Perfect form, the context makes it quite clear the action has been going on for a period of time, up to NOW, at which moment the speaker says, it is finished: 'I've waited...no more...I'm going'
    With the Continuous form, the speaker has the perspective that the action will continue beyond NOW : "I've been working here for 2 months" and in the speaker's mind, he will be continuing to working there.
    Last edited by David L.; 23-Feb-2009 at 01:54.

  10. #10
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Present Perfect tenses

    I am not a teacher.

    But even the Present "PERFECT" doesn't really mean the action in question is absolutely in "COMPLETION". The action may also continue into the future depending on the context. The word "Present Perfect" is misleading when the grammarian coined the word.

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